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Boston hasn’t had a murder in eighteen days. Most people in law enforcement kick back and enjoy a lull in crime. Not me. Whenever the homicide rate drops, my anxiety level skyrockets; my blood pressure surges and I develop a twitch in my left eye. It’s not that I’m worried about job security—homicide prosecutors can always earn more in law firms, investment banks, or fast-food joints. It’s that I know it won’t last. At some point, there will be another murder, another crime scene, another victim.
The other assistant district attorneys make good use of the downtime. They’re in their offices, drafting briefs and filing motions. My investigator has gone to the Cape for a few rounds of golf. And my victim witness advocate is at home, retiling her bathroom floor. I keep busy too—pacing around my apartment, checking and rechecking my phone.
I try to keep my neuroses under wraps, but there’s no point hiding it from Ty. We’ve been together almost two years and he knows the drill, does his best to distract me. This week, we’ve been to two concerts—the Bach Society at Sanders Theatre, and the Psychedelic Furs at the House of Blues. We’ve seen two movies—Gaslight and Spotlight. And we’ve binge-watched all five seasons of Breaking Bad.
We also eat out a lot, spending far more than our budget allows. Yesterday it was dinner, oysters at the Glenville Stops in Allston. Today it’s lunch, Szechuan shrimp at the Golden Temple in Brookline. While Ty pays the bill, I check my phone for the thousandth time. Still nothing. No calls, no texts, no murders.
Ty grabs the plastic bag of leftovers and we walk a couple of blocks up Beacon Street, to the side street where his Corolla is parked. When we reach the car, Ty opens my door, rubs my back, and kisses my neck. Ty is my Ativan, so calming and protective that I almost relax.
I climb into the passenger seat, drop my bag on the floor, and adjust my seat belt.
Ty yells out. “Hey. What the—”
Outside, there’s a commotion—two loud thumps. A man has appeared out of nowhere and, without a word, he tackles Ty and slams him up against the hood of the car. Ty struggles to free himself but the man has him pinned. Stunned, I bolt out of my seat, race to Ty, and jump on the man’s back.
“What are you doing? Get off of him. Leave him alone!” I say.
I grab at the man’s neck, but he swats me away, elbows me in the face—hard. My jaw clicks and I see a flash of light as my butt hits the ground.
“Shut up and don’t move,” he says.
This man is determined. I have to do something. My cell phone and pepper spray are only a few feet away, in my tote. I inch away toward the passenger door, on my hands and knees, keeping an eye on the man. He takes a swing at Ty, hitting him on the shoulder.
The man shouts at me, “I said don’t move.”
A glint of metal catches my eye. It’s coming from the man’s waistband. Fearing the worst, I strain to see what it is. It’s a gun, a Glock. For a moment, everything becomes a blur. I hold my breath and freeze as the man pulls out the pistol and presses it to Ty’s right temple. The man turns to me.
“When I say don’t move, I mean the both of you.”
I try to memorize his face. Brown hair, buzz cut, green eyes. A tattoo is on his right hand: an American eagle.
“Get up,” the man says.
I stand and raise my hands in the air, in surrender.
“What do you want?” I say. “Is it the car?”
“Take my key,” Ty says.
Ty fumbles with his key, dropping it on the pavement. The man doesn’t bend to pick it up. He isn’t interested in Ty’s Toyota. This is about more than a carjacking.
The man looks around. “Where’s the bag?”
“My tote is in the car,” I say.
“No, not that bag—the plastic one.”
Keeping my hands in the air, I use my foot to point to the sewer grate, where the bag of Chinese leftovers landed when Ty was ambushed.
“Hand it to me,” the man says. “Slowly.”
I pick up the bag of food and pass it to him, but his hands are occupied—one hand on the gun, the other on Ty’s throat.
“Open it,” the man says.
My hands are shaking, making it difficult to untie the knot. After a couple of attempts, I give up and rip the bag apart; three small white cartons spill out onto the sidewalk.
“Where are the drugs?” he says.
Ty and I look at each other, confused.
“We don’t have drugs,” Ty says.
The man picks up a container and inspects the contents. “What’s this?”
He tosses the open box on the curb. Noodles and gooey brown sauce splash out, onto the toes of my suede pumps.
A siren blips in the distance. I hold my breath, willing it in our direction, hoping it’s the police—not a fire engine or an ambulance—and that they’re coming to help. Maybe someone saw the assault, heard my pleas, and called 911.
Ty and I lock eyes in solidarity. We just need to hang on a little longer. Soon, help will arrive and this maniac will be subdued and arrested. The man seems oblivious to the siren. He doesn’t try to run, he doesn’t even flinch.
“I want the drugs,” he says.
“Look, man, there are no drugs,” Ty says.
“But we have cash,” I say. “I’ll get my wallet.”
“Stay where you are.” The man waves his pistol in the air. “I don’t want your money.”
As the siren intensifies, the man knees Ty in the back of his legs and twists his arm. Ty grimaces in pain.
“You should get out of here,” I say.
The man stops what he’s doing, holsters his Glock, and turns to face me. “Why would I want to get out of here?”
“Can’t you hear the siren?” I say.
“Yes. The police are coming.”
He shakes his head back and forth in disbelief. “Lady, I am the police.”
Copyright © 2018 by Furnace Book Productions